2021 review

With a new year beginning, it’s time review last year’s hobby efforts. I think we tend to forget what we did and learned over the last twelve months as we focus on pushing current projects forward. Reviewing your output reinforces the feeling that you are moving forward.

Rather than rolling through past blog posts, I searched through my photo archive. There are often a few things captured as photos that did not make it into a post.

Let’s start with the hoppers in the lead image. Those are five of seven HO scale plastic coal hopper kits that I upgraded with details to follow mid-1920s prototypes. They were all Bowser models except for a couple Accurail USRA hoppers.

Cast on details were replaced with wire on all the cars. End posts were replaced on several hoppers. The Union car in this image remains incomplete as it needs some decals. I started modifying these models in February and finished all but one by October.

Decals can add important element to bring a model into a specific era. This Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh hopper has factory applied lettering except for the lettering above the car number, the Ry., and the safety appliances stencil. A swatch of black decal above the B covers lettering that wasn’t needed.

Here are three cars after a flat coat was applied. The D&H Seley hopper is a private run resin kit produced by a friend. He also did the decals. It’s a unique car that was common among many roads in the Teens and Twenties.

I was excited when Resin Car Works released a Louisville & Nashville steel gondola kit with drop doors. The L&N added a couple thousand of these just before my late 1926 modeling focus. I built the kit and had applied decals by the time I realized the lettering wasn’t quite right. So, I stripped the paint.

I ended up with a disaster. The paint stripper does not play well with the resin material. This was my biggest lesson learned of 2021.

I got another kit and built it in October. It’s painted and currently awaiting decal application.

I dug into my kit stash and built a pair of Red Caboose boxcars to reflect Baltimore & Ohio M-26b class prototypes. The upgrades were featured in October on a Resin Car Works blog post. 4,800 cars of the M-26 class were part of the 1926 B&O fleet. I need to build a few more for my model fleet.

There were more than 153,000 automobile boxcars listed in the 1926 ORER. The Pere Marquette had a few different designs in their fleet to move autos from factory to dealers. Speedwitch Media produced resin models of the single-sheathed door-and-a-half cars. I bought a pair of these awhile back. A friend designed decals for the as-built lettering appearance.

I modified the brake system on the underframe and also the brake staff details to follow the original 88000-88349 series prototypes.

All went well with these models until I sprayed the flat coat. Odd hazing appeared around some of the decals. Not under the decal, but around. I was perplexed and frustrated with this development. A couple friends made suggestions that I need to try so I can move forward and weather these cars.

The final freight car project of 2021 was a Funaro & Camerlengo Reading XMp class boxcar with wood doors. These are nicely done kits of interesting prototypes. I’d also recommend this as a first time resin kit. It has a one piece car body and the extra details are minimal.

Another friend created the decal artwork to reflect what is seen on mid-1920s photographs. This would be fairly fresh lettering in 1926 as the Reading reorganized in 1924. Photographic evidence from 1926 and 1927 shows many of their freight cars still wearing the earlier Philadelphia & Reading lettering. I can see a future project with P&R lettering.

I needed a freight car kit building break, so I opened a Jordan Products Highway Miniatures HO scale dump truck kit. This follows a mid-1920s Mack AC design and the parts are injection molded plastic. The photo here shows the parts just before painting. Building these kits will be a full post soon. The Jordan kit has been a nice change of pace but more tedious than many resin freight car kits that I’ve built.

That wraps up my home projects for 2021. 13 freight cars and one vehicle were started and mostly completed. Do I add the L&N gondola stripping disaster? I did build it before I wrecked it, so it’s 14 for the year, plus the truck.

I enjoyed building these kits and detailing them for a mid-1920s appearance. A few need attention before moving forward with weathering, but there are always projects that dangle into a new year. Heck, there’s a few from the end of last year that are still dangling. Time to update my line up card.

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10 thoughts on “2021 review”

  1. A good article. I have had trouble with matt varnish going white apparently it’s to do with the matting agent which is French chalk not mixing properly.

    1. Thanks, Paul. It’s odd that the hazing hit only spots beside the decal film. I think it might be a reaction of the Model Master clear acryl flat and the Micro Sol (red bottle) solution. I’ll see what happens when I daub distilled water on the areas with cotton swabs this week. – Eric H.

  2. Hi Eric,
    What paint stripper deformed the Gon in the photo?
    And Good luck with the Snow. You sure are having a time of it with weather

    Miss ya

    1. Hey John! I used Scalecoat II Wash Away paint stripper, but left the model in the bath for 24+ hours. I think the length of time in the stripper was part of the cause. Lesson learned. I miss you guys up there in NE Ohio, too! – Eric H.

      1. Eric,

        I did the exact same thing with a Sunshine resin gon that my initial paint application was less than ideal. I checked it after about two hours and should have removed it but for some reason I didn’t. Left in in for 48 hours (because I forgot about it!) and pulled out a disfigured mess that looked exactly like yours. As you say, lesson learned!


      2. Had the same thing happen to a Varney caboose. Just can’t leave some materials overnight! Mine was in isopropyl alcohol which was my standard stripper at the time.

  3. Hey Eric,

    Enjoyed reading this recap. I especially like the D&H Seley hopper…I prefer wood over steel if I have a choice. Don’t see how you get all of this accomplished with the amount of involvement you have.

  4. Just a thought, You may have ruined a model, but you have an excellent base for doing a wrecked Gondola from a major derailment.

    I use Super Clean in the purple jug. the stuff works great and doesn’t attack plastic even if left for several days. Not sure about Resin models as I’ve never tried it on one.

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